KAJIADO: Rifts within the Jubilee Alliance Party ( JAP) aside, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and its candidate Elijah Memusi effectively employed the ‘division of labour’ strategy to romp to victory in Monday’s Kajiado Central by-election.
Details pieced together by The Standard on Sunday team, which monitored ODM’s campaigns reveal that Memusi and his party knew they were fighting opponents with an unmatched financial muscle, and thus employed “giant killer” tactics.
The Opposition party also employed a strong counter-propaganda offensive, powerful finishing kicks and incorruptible agents to see off Patrick Tutui, the government backed contestant. Memusi garnered 16,008 votes against Tutui’s 15,508.
“We had multiple strategies that worked for us. We combed all corners of the constituency by road, air and on foot. We did our part and left the remaining bit to God who was with us from the start,” Memusi said.
The crucial Muslim vote around the border town of Namanga and within Kajiado town, which has a sizeable Somali population, was a key target for the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD). Here, Memusi’s campaigners portrayed the Jubilee Government as anti-Muslim over terror-related arrests.
The MP-elect is all too aware of the crucial support he received from CORD principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula, coalition Senators, MPs and MCAs, which he acknowledges made the big difference.
On Tuesday, Raila visited Kajiado to thank residents for electing Memusi. “We have come to thank the people of Kajiado for electing Memusi. We urge you to stand with ODM. This is a big win for the Opposition, and it is now clear that we have revived the party, ready for take-off in 2017,” the former PM said.
CORD applied the division of labour strategy, which is widely used in commerce, for effective campaigns. Most CORD leaders had specific roles to play in the campaigns, accompanied with some well packaged messages.
While ODM Director of Elections Junet Mohammed tackled JAP on general development promises, Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama was asked to discredit Jubilee’s main selling point that Kajiado Central residents should thank the Government for appointing their former MP Joseph Nkaissery to the Cabinet by electing Tutui.
“Nkaissery, like any other Kenyan, had a right to be appointed to a public position. Public positions should be on merit and Nkaiserry deserved it. This was not a reward to you,” Muthama told rallies at Eiti, Bisil and Namanga.
Kalonzo’s message to the Muslim population in Kajiado was that the Jubilee Government had no time for them.
“You are harassed by this Government which calls every Muslim Al Shabaab. If it were not for CORD, which has fought oppressive laws against you, you could not be okay today,” he said in Namanga.
All three CORD principals trooped to Kajiado Central in turns for vote hunting missions. During the last week to elections, Raila led campaigns on Wednesday before flying to Morocco the next day. Wetang’ula took charge on Thursday while Kalonzo was at hand on Friday, a day before the official campaign closure.
Internal rifts within ODM seemed to have been put aside. Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero, who has been viewed as a rebel, joined Wetang’ula and Senators James Orengo, Muthama and Moses Kajwang’ on the campaign trail on Thursday.
Quoting the Bible, Kidero said the Kajiadio Central contest was a contest between David (CORD) and Goliath ( JAP), and that at the end of the day, David would triumph.
“Goliath is all over expressing confidence on how he will win the seat. But we know who will floor him and dismantle his head,” he said. Away from the rallies, Memusi engaged elders, youth, women and religious groups.
His wife Stella was always at hand to engage women. On Thursday, Stella led Mombasa County Woman Representative Mishi Juma Mboko and Kilifi’s Aisha Juma to Purko as Memusi took his vote hunting to Eiti.
Memusi’s also had small campaign teams of five groups in each of the five wards, whom he relied on at the grassroots. “In each ward, I had five campaign teams reaching out to voters and this ensured we reached each and every person with a voting card,” he said. On the last campaign day, Memusi’s team concentrated on Kajiado town in a door-to-door campaign to seek votes from the non-Masaai residents.
“Of the 39,000 voters in Kajiado Central, between 5,000 and 6,000 are non-Masaais,” noted Memusi. The MP-elect had to fight off JAP promises to the electorate that they should vote in Tutui if Kajiado Central was to benefit from government projects and employment opportunities.
“You have a county government here in Kajiado under a CORD Governor, and with devolution, you do not need to rely on the National Government in Nairobi,” was his message.
CORD persistently demanded a free and fair election and appointed its MPs as ‘super agents’ in most polling stations. “Each of the polling stations will also have an MP as the super-agent, with MCAs from all over the country also being roped in,” Wetang’ula told a closed door meeting at Embeuti Resort in Kajiado town.
CORD has won three Senatorial seats (Bungoma, Makueni, Homa-Bay) and one gubernatorial seat (Siaya) on top of three parliamentary seats (Matungulu, Mathare and Kajiado Central).
Jubilee on the other hand has only managed two parliamentary seats in Gatundu South, where its candidate went in un-opposed following withdrawal of his main competitor and in Bomachoge-Borabu won by Ford-People, one of its affiliated political parties.